The US Space Force is requesting more than $1.2 billion to keep the highly classified Long-Range Kill Chain project running until 2028.
The project aims to field advanced satellite payloads to detect and track moving targets on the ground. It would employ a ground moving target indicator (GMTI) sensor to fulfill the mission.
According to a budget estimate, the allocation will support research and development for the program.
GMTI missions were previously conducted by the US Air Force’s E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft.
However, the aircraft will be decommissioned next year, prompting the air force to shift a portion of its GMTI missions to US Space Force satellites.
Around $243 million has been requested for fiscal year 2024 alone to fund the project.
“Space-based GMTI systems will provide actionable information on adversary surface targets to the warfighter through the advanced battle management system,” the budget document stated.
Kicking off the Long-Range Kill Chain project is another way to harness crucial data from space and incorporate it into a secure environment, according to the document.
It can also allow the US military to sense threats and act faster than its adversaries.
However, the US Air Force will evaluate the risk of shifting some of its object-tracking mission to space-based sensors before proceeding with the program.
It will also consider how many GMTI missions satellites might be able to take on.
“We’re going to try to do this together [as] efficiently as possible to meet both operational and intelligence needs,” Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said at a March 15 conference in DC.